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Newly established NW Strategic Growth Partnership will help NW City region achieve its priorities

08 December 2016

Senior Government officials from North and South, who met yesterday for the first time as part of a new and innovative Strategic Partnership, were told about the importance of a joint approach to successfully drive forward the strategic priorities for the North West City region.

The North West Strategic Growth Partnership, led by Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council, held their inaugural meeting in Derry’s Bishop’s Gate Hotel yesterday afternoon, where they were given an overview of the North West Strategic Growth Plan aimed at driving forward economic, environmental and social regeneration prosperity for the region, by the Chief Executives of the two Councils.

The Partnership, comprising senior representatives from all Government departments from Northern Ireland and the Republic, is the first of its kind on the island of Ireland, was set up with the aim of bringing about real and positive benefits for the North West City region.

As part of the meeting, a joint presentation was made by representatives of Department of Infrastructure (NI) and the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (IRL) outlining their commitment to collaborative working to improve and enhance connectivity for the region, as part of the Regional Development Strategy and the North West Region and National Planning Framework. 

The meeting also included a round table discussion with all stakeholders, which was facilitated by the International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) giving an outline of their departmental priorities for 2017/18 and implications for and impacts on the North West City region.

Speaking following the meeting, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Alderman Hilary McClintock said strong partnership working across both jurisdictions was good for Derry~Londonderry and the wider North West region and the meeting was a very positive step towards building on the strong collaborative links that already exist. 

An Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Terence Slowey, said the newly established Partnership was a hugely important forum to provide joint-up planning and resourcing and that he was very excited about the range of opportunities this Partnership presented for the North West region. He said by working collectively with Central Government there was a real chance for the Councils and stakeholders to enhance and develop the region's unique offerings and promote it as a great place to live and work.

John Kelpie, Chief Executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council said the first meeting was extremely positive and a significant event for the North West City region. He said: “This partnership with Central government is hugely significant and has received the endorsement of the two Governments through the North South Ministerial Council. It is the culmination of over two years intensive planning and development carried out in partnership with the North West Regional Development Group. 

“We are delighted at the success of the inaugural meeting and the genuine enthusiasm and commitment from the government departments to assisting us in achieving our strategic goals. It is important for us to showcase the North West region and promote the fact that it includes Derry~Londonderry, the fourth largest city region on the island of Ireland and the huge potential we have for growth.”

He said that this focused co-operation and unique partnership will allow the region to realise its full potential with a special focus on the three key pillars of economic growth and investment, physical and environmental development and social and community cohesion and well-being. 

John Kelpie added that following from the Driving Growth Conference in Burt earlier this week, the meeting was another strong endorsement of the close collaborative working relationship between the two Councils, and the ongoing commitment to promoting and maximising the opportunities that exist for the region.

Seamus Neely, Chief Executive with Donegal County Council said the establishment of the Partnership is hugely significant in acknowledging the importance of the region to the economy of both jurisdictions.

“Our first meeting was extremely positive with very engaging discussions from the Government representatives giving their commitment to helping us drive forward our strategic priorities and help assist us with the delivery of the Programme for Government, north and south of the border.

“It was a very unique opportunity for us to give the Partnership members an insight into the positive work we are doing collectively in delivering a joint programme that will focus on job creation, growth and investment as well as investment in tourism, rural connectivity and health. The Partnership grouping were all very committed to doing what they can to help us put into place specific arrangements that will allow the North West City region maximise the opportunities that exist.”

He added that in addition to facilitating greater joint working between Central Government and local Government, he was confident the Partnership would be pivotal in leading a strong forum to outline the key strengths to allow them to achieve the targets for the North West City region to become a resilient economy and a thriving prosperous city region.

Ends